It’s five years since Paul A. Young opened his first chocolate shop in Islington. In 2007, he opened a second shop in the City of London, and this morning sees the opening of a third shop in a prime location in the heart of Soho.
The Wardour Street shop, a former stationers, has been transformed in a matter of six weeks from almost derelict into one of London’s most beautiful chocolateries.
On the outside, the purple painted exterior is unmissable. Inside, the shop is simply and elegantly decorated with a feature wall featuring handmade wallpaper with a cocoa pod design, a large circular table and an actual reclaimed wooden altar for a counter.
With only a few pieces of furniture in the room and two large windows, the shop is bright and airy, even with the deep purple walls. It’s the kind of shop that you can’t just walk past without looking in. And judging by the number of members of the public trying to get into the shop on press day, it’s not the kind of place where people are going to be satisfied just looking in the window.
While it doesn’t quite have the cosy and intimate atmosphere of Paul’s Islington shop, it’s every bit as elegant, and most importantly, welcoming.
But perhaps the part of the shop that has seen the biggest transformation is one the public will never see. The downstairs kitchen and storage areas were derelict to the point of collapse just weeks ago. Now, they’re bright, clean and spacious – so much so that they actually extend underneath two neighbouring shops.
If you’ve ever seen how cramped Paul’s kitchen in his Islington shop is, you’ll appreciate what a difference this makes.
All the chocolates sold in the shop are produced on the premises, and that includes the new summer range. We got to try some of the exciting new flavours including Wild Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper, Black Sesame Tahini, Tomato Basil & Olive Oil, and a rather delicious truffle made with Kernel Brewery Stout & Muscavado Sugar. The entire range is available now, and it’s all worth trying.
Of course, the shop also sells Paul’s famous brownies and a range of bars from Duffy Sheardown. When (if) summer gets going, they’ll be selling ice creams, with hot chocolates available in winter.
You can’t miss that beautiful shop if you happen to be walking past, but if you’re in central London, it really is worth a detour to pay it a visit. You won’t regret it.
Paul A. Young, Soho can be found at 143 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WA. It’s open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 8pm and Sundays 12pm – 7pm.